The Strength of a Companion – Martha Jones
“I spent a lot of time with you thinking I was second best. But you know what? I am good.” – Martha Jones
Martha Jones had an uphill battle coming when she became the Tenth Doctor’s new companion. The Doctor was damaged, and hurting from the loss of someone who not only cared about, but loved.
But Martha was a truly great companion.
Martha was the daughter and sister everyone in the family called when there was a crisis. She was a doctor. In her first encounter with the unknown, in a moment when even her colleagues were upset and frightened, she was calm and collected. Martha could totally hold her own.
Martha loves her family. Traveling the world, meeting Shakespeare, seeing impossible things; none of that ever made Martha forget about the people who loved and supported her (even if they weren’t always great at it). When she was transported to the one place she wanted to be more than anything, she didn’t fall into the arms of a man, but into her mother’s home.
Martha is loyal. This is a trait that most companions possess, but I feel like Martha really had to go the extra mile. Whether it was being stuck in a time period where she had to work as a shop girl to support herself and the Doctor (Blink) or take care of the Doctor as he became a human version of himself, unaware of his Time Lord self (The Family of Blood).
Martha’s role as a servant was especially significant to me, as Martha not only had to become a servant, but as a women of color she had to endure racist remarks, and even unkind remarks from the Doctor himself.
Martha is human. This is a recurring theme across the companions I love. It’s generally the bit of them that has people up in arms, crying “weak” that makes me feel they are a great character.
The bit about Martha you’ll hear a fair amount of whinging about is the fact that very quickly, she developed a crush on the Doctor. How could she?! That hussy!
But let’s be real. A flirtatious, intelligent, man-looking being kisses you the first time you meet and whisks you off to all sorts of places…what’s so crazy about developing a crush, and even more as you spent time with him? And would it be so crazy to think that those feelings could be returned someday?
The beauty of Martha is she didn’t let the Doctor’s failure to love her back change the way she treated him. (See Loyalty – she watched him fall in love with someone else while in human form…that couldn’t have been fun.) She also didn’t let unrequited love make her believe in herself any less. Which brings me to my next point…
Martha left. Martha is one companion that willingly chose to leave the Doctor. She loved her adventures, but Martha opted to live a life that was great in its own right.
Martha was strong, smart, and caring. She got along with past and future companions of the Doctor, and was even happy when she found out Rose came back. She was able to look back on her time with the Doctor fondly, but she clearly knew what it meant to move forward without him.
An excellent example of what it means to be a companion, but also what it means to go back home and be your own hero.
Next up, a companion who doesn’t fancy the Doctor for once: Donna.
What did you think of Martha? Did you think it was brave for her to leave? What’s your favorite/least favorite Martha moment?